There’s a new rebooted, ‘classic’ Nokia phone. Following on from the rebooted 3310 and 8110, the Nokia 5310 is the third handset in a slowly growing series of feature phones from Finnish smartphone manufacturer HMD Global.
It’s a low-cost 2G device (meaning no mobile internet) and comes with a 2.4-inch display, 8MB of RAM, 16MB of storage, SD card slot (up to 32GB in size), dual stereo front facing speakers, FM radio, a 1,200mAh battery which can last a month and dedicated music buttons on the side.
At €39 (around $40, £35, AU$70) the Nokia 5310 is certainly inexpensive, and is aimed mainly at developing markets when it goes on sale in March. Although HMD is hoping that this ‘classic’ device will also appeal to those with found memories of the Nokia brand and its former devices – however, with this latter point, it may have missed the boat.
When we think back to the ‘classic’ Nokia handsets of the 90s and 00s, the 5310 doesn’t make the cut. It doesn’t have the same nostalgic charm as the 3310, or the famous movie tie-in as the 8110. It’s just another old Nokia phone.
The true Nokia Originals
The rebooted Nokia 3310 grabbed headlines and tugged nostalgic heartstrings when it was revealed during the relaunch of the Nokia name on phones announcement at MWC 2017.
HMD Global’s gamble of rebooting an icon became a powerful marketing tool for getting the Nokia name back in the minds of consumers, even if those consumers were more likely to buy one of its new smartphones, rather than a 2.5G feature phone.
However, the die had been cast and the “Nokia Originals” feature phone range was born.
A year later at MWC 2018, HMD was at it again with the introduction of its second reboot, the Nokia 8110 4G. Also known as the banana phone thanks to its unique curvature, and the inspiration behind Neo’s slider handset in the Matrix movie, the 8110 had the pulling power to capture the imagination of consumers once again.
It didn’t make as big a splash as the 3310 did the year before, but it was still interesting enough to turn heads, plus the addition of 4G allowed for a better onscreen experience with the likes of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp all available (albeit as much simpler apps).
These phones weren’t exactly cutting edge, nor were they offering the best bang-for-your-buck, there were (and are) better specced Nokia features phones for the same, or lower price – but the iconic names allowed the brand to stand out from the pack.
We were finally seeing, after many years of stuck in black rectangle doldrums, a mobile brand doing something different and creating devices which got people excited again.
With the third addition to the Nokia Originals range we were hoping for another major handset to go through the reboot treatment. There are so many better options than the Nokia 5310 to choose from.
Seven superior options
How about the 8210 from 1999? A tiny and iconic handset which would have shown off how much modern tech it’s possible to cram into a compact form factor. Perhaps HMD didn’t want something quite this old, the original Nokia 5310 did launch in 2007 after all (the same year the iPhone did by the way, talking of icons).
The Nokia N95 arrived the same year as the 5310. At the time of its launch, it was a gargantuan handset with a two-way slider, stereo speakers, impressive 5MP camera and sizable 2.6-inch display. Plenty of scope then, to produce an exciting rebooted handset.
It could even consider the QWERTY keyboard-toting Nokia E71 from 2008 or the mini PDA Nokia Communicator series – especially as there’s a hole in the QWERTY-keyboard phone market now after TCL shut down its BlackBerry Mobile operation.
And if HMD really wanted to gamble, how about the ‘teardrop’ Nokia 7600, ‘lipstick’ Nokia 7280 or the gaming-focused Nokia N-Gage for a walk on the wild side?
Of course, price is always going to play a huge part in the product of low-cost feature phones, and HMD can’t spend huge amounts on R&D for handsets which will sell below the $50 mark.
The N95 and N-Gage will likely require more time and money to produce 2020 versions, but there are a raft of classic Nokia handsets which still hold strong nostalgic value. So thanks, HMD Global, for rebooting another Nokia Original, but for the fourth entry to the series please do consider these options.